Normal. Vanilla. Typical. Ordinary. This is how I would describe our life six months ago – I didn’t realize how great these mundane words were. During March break of this year we had travelled to Ottawa and to check out the museums. While there my 5-year old son Hugh had a few headaches and started vomiting. We visited emergency and were put on a waiting list to see a neurologist – the general opinion was migraines. By May the headache didn’t break for a week – a trip to Sick Kids emergency found a brain tumor. That was the day our world stopped and we were no longer normal.
Hugh has brain cancer. He has been through 3 brain surgeries, 33 radiation treatments, 3 cycles of chemo with 7 more on the way and more needles than we can count. At the end of May Hugh wasn’t able to walk but he did keep telling jokes and making everyone smile. It’s now five months later and he is playing soccer, enjoying swimming lessons and getting into lots of ‘normal’ 5 year old trouble!
We have had some terrible dark times as a family and have become a ‘Sick Kids’ family – I can give a tour of the hospital with our eyes closed. In September Sick Kids introduced us to Children’s Wish and Hugh wished to pet a dolphin… and he did at Sea World in Orlando.
I can’t describe the awful feeling when you realize that you meet the criteria for a Children’s Wish trip. However, given that we don’t get to pick our path, I’m so glad that these organizations are here. We weren’t ever sure that we were going to get a chance to have a family vacation again. To put all the world and crazy on hold for a week and get to share an incredible experience with our kids was incredible.
We will never be normal again. I dream of normal – until then we lean on our friends who have gotten us through the crazy. Hugh will continue to deal with effects of radiation, including being fearful of a new cancer as a result. However, today we are here. Thanks to everyone who supports all of these organizations and helps us to dream of ‘normal’. The journey will continue and we are happy to have friends along the way.